Chris Nowacki
Key Account Manager
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert
Marek Ziółkowski
Chief Solutions Officer

Best credit card processing gateways for in-app payment processing

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In the realm of modern online commerce, credit card processing gateways play a vital role in facilitating seamless and secure transactions. As businesses strive to meet the ever-growing demands of customers, grasping the nature of these solutions becomes paramount to success. The purpose of this post is to provide a clear and concise definition of what a payment processing gateway is, as well as discuss a number of related issues. By the end of it, you’ll have a solid foundation for understanding its significance in today's digital landscape and should be able to make decisions that’ll benefit your business. Let’s proceed, shall we?

Choosing the best credit card processing solution for startups holds great significance in laying a strong foundation for success. As newcomer companies navigate the competitive business landscape, a reliable and efficient payment processing gateway can make a major difference.

By selecting the right solution, startups can provide their customers with a top-notch payment experience, fostering trust and loyalty. On top of that, there are organizational advantages such as accurate transaction records and valuable reporting insights. With the ability to accept various payment methods securely, startups can broaden their customer base, boost revenue, and establish a solid footing for long-term growth.

What is a payment processing gateway?

A payment processing gateway refers to a sophisticated software solution that acts as a conduit between a merchant's website or application and the financial institutions involved in processing money transactions. It serves as an intermediary, enabling businesses to accept various forms of electronic payments from their customers securely and efficiently. Its biggest advantages for both parties involved are convenience and trust, as money can be safely transferred from a variety of sources.

How do payment gateways work?

We’ve already thoroughly discussed how to build a SaaS product before, but in-app payment processing is a crucial enough aspect of the process that it warrants a whole separate post devoted to it.

Let’s dive deeper to discuss how payment gateways work and what operations they perform in order to see through the process of customer’s money reaching you securely.

Transaction initiation

When a customer initiates a transfer of funds on a website or within an application, the payment processing gateway takes charge. It receives the payer's information such as credit card details or digital wallet credentials, and prepares it for further processing.

Data encryption and security

One of the core features of payment processing gateways is their ability to ensure the utmost security during transactions. Advanced encryption algorithms are employed to protect sensitive customer data from unauthorized access or interception.

Communication channels

Credit card processing gateways establish a secure communication channel between the merchant's system and the financial organizations involved, such as banks or credit card networks. This pathway then allows for the transmission of transaction data, authentication requests, and confirmations.

Payment authorization

A crucial function of a payment gateway is the verification of the validity and availability of funds in the customer's chosen payment method. This authorization process occurs in real-time, ensuring that the transaction can proceed with no hiccups.

Transaction routing

Once the payment is authorized, the gateway acts as a routing system, directing the transaction details to the appropriate financial institution for further processing. The process ensures that funds are securely transferred between the customer's and the merchant's accounts.

Response handling

After the transaction is processed by the financial institution, the payment gateway receives the response indicating whether the transaction was successful or declined. The feedback is then relayed back to the merchant's system, allowing them to update the customer accordingly.

Source: Skrill

How to choose the best credit card processing company for in-app payment processing

Before you move on with the selection process, start by figuring out the best pricing strategy for your product. Once you’re confident about it, consider the following factors when choosing the payment gateway option for your app:

Security and compliance

Prioritize companies that take stringent security measures, such as encryption and tokenization, to protect sensitive customer information. Make sure they comply with industry standards like PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) to mitigate the risk of data breaches.

Integration and compatibility

Opt for a credit card processing company that offers seamless integration with your app's existing infrastructure. Compatibility with popular mobile platforms and software development kits (SDKs) ensures a smooth integration process without disrupting the user experience.

Payment methods and global reach

Consider the range of payment methods supported by the gateway company. It's crucial to offer a variety of options to accommodate diverse customer preferences. Additionally, if you have plans for international expansion, make sure the company supports global payment processing and accepts multiple currencies.

Transparent pricing and fees

Understand the pricing structure and associated fees (more on that in a moment) of the payment processing company. Look for transparent models, clearly showing transaction fees, monthly fees, and any additional charges. Be aware of hidden costs that can impact your bottom line.

Customer support

Evaluate the quality of customer support offered by the credit card processing gateway. Prompt and reliable customer service is essential, especially during critical situations like payment disputes or technical issues.

Reporting and analytics

A solution that provides comprehensive reporting and analytics tools empowers you to gain valuable insights into your app's payment performance. Access to transaction data, chargeback reports, and other information helps you make smart decisions to optimize your in-app payment processes.

Reputation and reviews

Conduct thorough research to get a sense of the reputation and track record of the payment gateway company. Read reviews and testimonials from other businesses, particularly those in your industry, to make sure you're partnering with a trusted and reputable provider.

Credit card processing gateways’ fees and costs

Understanding the credit card processing fees applied by the various gateways is a crucial operational aspect for startups. Managing expenses plays an important role in maintaining a healthy bottom line. You'll have to spend some to make some so let's get you ready for what you may expect when using a payment processing service. The key points you need to consider are:

Transaction fees

Every payment that goes through a credit card processing gateway comes with a transaction fee. This is usually a percentage of the total amount, accompanied by a fixed per-transaction charge. Be mindful of the fee structure, especially if you have high transaction volumes, as it can directly impact your profitability.

Interchange fees

Credit card networks, like Visa and Mastercard, charge interchange fees for using their payment infrastructure. These will vary based on factors such as card type (debit, credit, rewards) and transaction nature (online, in-person, international). Take into account the impact of interchange fees on your overall costs, as they constitute a significant portion of credit card processing expenses.

Flat fees vs. tiered pricing

Some gateways offer flat fees, where you pay a consistent rate for all transactions, while others employ tiered pricing, categorizing transactions into tiers with corresponding rates. Consider your business's transaction profile to determine which pricing model aligns best with your needs for optimal cost efficiency.

Monthly fees

Certain credit card processing gateways charge monthly fees for their services, covering aspects like advanced features, customer support, or extras such as invoicing, recurring billing, and fraud prevention. Assess the value these services bring to determine if the monthly fee is justified in relation to your business requirements.

Chargeback and dispute fees

Chargebacks occur when customers dispute transactions, leading to refunds. Gateways may impose fees for managing the chargeback process. Understand these fees and the associated claim resolution mechanisms being offered. Efficient management of chargebacks helps minimize their impact on your business's financial stability.

Hidden costs

Thoroughly review the terms and conditions of credit card processing gateways to identify any hidden costs. These may include setup fees, termination fees, PCI compliance fees, or charges for additional services like data insights or customized reporting. Awareness of all potential costs ensures transparency and empowers you to make informed decisions.

payment processing fees infographics
Source: Corefy

How to reduce your credit card processing costs

Naturally, you’ll want to know how you can best navigate the area of fees and charges, so we’ve compiled a number of strategies for reducing the costs of processing credit cards and other methods of payment.

Compare providers

Research and compare multiple credit card processing gateways. Look for transparent pricing, competitive rates, and favorable terms that suit your business's needs best.

Negotiate fees

Initiate discussions with providers to negotiate lower rates or favorable terms based on your transaction volume or unique requirements.

Optimize pricing models

Analyze your transaction data and choose between flat fees and tiered pricing to align with your payment patterns and reduce costs.

Monitor interchange fees

Stay informed about interchange fee rates and implement strategies to qualify for lower rates through fraud prevention and transaction classification.

Review contracts

Carefully review terms and conditions, identify hidden fees, and negotiate more favorable conditions to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Manage chargebacks

Implement fraud prevention measures, improve customer support, and closely monitor chargeback ratios to minimize dispute management fees and revenue loss.

Maintain PCI compliance

Adhere to PCI DSS guidelines to avoid penalties, fines, and any additional fees associated with non-compliance.

Optimize operations

Streamline processes, automate manual tasks, implement robust reporting systems, and integrate payment processing with essential systems to reduce errors and enhance efficiency.

Local payment processing solutions

If you're looking to target a global customer base with your app and wish to be able to accept payments from them, you need to implement local payment methods they prefer and trust. These include payment options that are specific to a certain region or country, such as bank transfers, e-wallets, cash-based digital payments, and local cards. Offering these can help you reach new customers, increase conversion rates, cut down costs, and lower fraud risks.

Some of the local payment processing companies available worldwide include:

Local Chinese payment methods

Alipay, the most popular e-wallet in China, with over one billion users, accepted online and in-store via a mobile phone, QR code, or biometric authentication. The solution also offers cross-border payment services for merchants who want to sell to Chinese buyers. Since this is such a huge market you potentially may want to enter, other popular Chinese payment methods include WeChat Pay and TenPay, and might require additional consideration from your side.

Local Brazilian payment methods

Boleto Bancário, a cash-based payment method in Brazil that lets customers pay for online purchases by printing a voucher and paying at any bank branch, ATM, post office, lottery agent, or convenience store, iswidely used by people who don't have a bank account or credit card, or who simply prefer to deal in cash.

Local German payment methods

Giropay, a bank transfer payment method in Germany that utilizes customers' existing online banking credentials for processing online transactions. The platform is supported by over 1,500 banks in Germany and offers top level security and convenience to customers.

Local Dutch payment methods

iDEAL, another bank transfer payment method, this time in the Netherlands, that allows customers to pay online using their digital banking details. All major banks in the country support it, which enjoys a high level of trust and popularity among Dutch consumers.

Local Kenyan payment methods

M-Pesa, a mobile money service in Kenya that lets customers send and receive money using their mobile phones. This solution can also be used to pay for online purchases by entering a one-time code sent via SMS. M-Pesa has over 40 million users in Kenya as well as other African countries and is widely used by customers who don't have access to traditional banking services.

Accept Payments Worldwide - Paymentwall
Source: Paymentwall

6 best crediting card processing gateways for startups

A growth-oriented startup needs a reliable and affordable way to accept credit card payments online. Things like your budget, expected volume of payments, preferences, and security needs will come into play. You have to go over different features, fees, and integrations before the final decision will be made. Luckily, there's a number of established options available and to help you get started, here are some of the best payment processing companies in the market.

Square – for both online and offline payments

If you're looking for a hassle-free, all-in-one solution for both online and offline payments, Square might be the perfect fit for your startup. Not only does it provide a payment gateway but it also offers POS hardware and software for in-person transactions. With Square credit card processing, you'll enjoy a flat rate of 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction for online payments. The solution offers convenient features like instant deposits, invoicing, recurring payments, and seamless integrations with various e-commerce platforms. Square's user-friendly interface makes it a great choice for startups seeking an easy-to-use solution they can get going with right away.

Stripe – for custom payment experiences

For startups with more complex payment needs, Stripe card processing offers a highly customizable payment gateway with potent APIs and developer tools. This solution gives you the flexibility to build your own payment flows and integrations tailored to your specific requirements. They charge a rate of 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction. Stripe also offers instant deposits, invoicing, subscription billing, advanced fraud prevention measures, and extensive integrations with hundreds of apps and platforms. If you're looking for a scalable solution that allows you to create unique payment experiences, Stripe is worth giving it a shot.

Braintree – for flexible payment options

If you're looking to offer your customers a wide range of payment options, Braintree is a great choice. They support credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other popular methods. Braintree charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online payments. In addition to their payment processing capabilities, they’ll provide you with invoicing, recurring billing, robust fraud protection, data portability, and seamless integrations with various e-commerce platforms and tools. For startups aiming to provide flexibility and convenience in payment choices, Braintree can do no wrong.

PayPal – for worldwide recognizability

When it comes to a trusted and widely recognized payment gateway, PayPal definitely stands out. They not only offer payment processing services but also provide an e-wallet service for customers to store and transfer money online. With PayPal, you'll pay a fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for online payments. The platform offers features like invoicing, subscription billing, advanced fraud prevention measures, and buyer protection. Their extensive integrations with e-commerce platforms and tools make it easy to seamlessly incorporate PayPal into your startup's ecosystem. For companies looking to tap into the vast network of PayPal users worldwide and leverage the credibility of the brand, this platform is an excellent choice.

Adyen – for international expansion

For startups with global aspirations, this platform offers a versatile payment gateway. With Adyen, you can accept various payment methods, including credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers, catering to the preferences of your diverse customer base. This tool's pricing structure varies based on factors such as payment method, currency, country, and transaction volume. Alongside their payment processing capabilities, Adyen provides instant deposits, invoicing, subscription billing, advanced fraud prevention measures, data insights for informed decision-making, and smooth integrations with many e-commerce platforms. If expanding your business internationally and offering localized payment methods are top priorities, Adyen may be a great choice.

Helcim – for lowest processing fees

When it comes to minimizing processing fees, Helcim offers a unique proposition by providing both a payment gateway and merchant accounts. With this tool, you'll enjoy lower processing fees, with charges set at 0.3% plus 8 cents per online transaction (plus interchange fees). In addition to cost savings, Helcim offers features like invoicing, recurring payments, fraud prevention measures, customer management tools, comprehensive reporting capabilities, and integrations with various e-commerce platforms. Helcim is a great solution for startups aiming to optimize their processing costs as their transaction volume grows, providing a cost-effective and feature-rich payment gateway and merchant account combo.

Your final decision as to which online payment processing company to go with will probably come down to the intricacies of the fees involved and the integrations offered, as the built-in features are very similar across all the platforms.

RST Software is here to help

At RST Software, we're well aware of the importance of seamless payment processing for your app or other digital platform. Our team is fully equipped and ready to assist you in incorporating a credit card processing gateway that aligns with your specific business needs and enables secure mobile transactions.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us via to discuss how we can make this happen and level up the user experience.

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